Daily News - Wednesday 30 April 2014

Posted 30 April 2014 7:43am

Victorians must speak out to tackle culture of violence against women and children
Natasha Stott Despoja, The Age

A woman is killed nearly every week in Australia by a male partner or ex-partner – often while she is trying to leave the relationship. Most of these murders are the ultimate act in a longer history of domestic violence.

The "retaliatory" murders of children – where the intention is to cause maximum possible pain and harm to the other parent – again usually occur in the context of a history of domestic violence, and are most often perpetrated by fathers or stepfathers.

Most men are not violent. But the vast majority of acts of domestic violence are perpetrated by men against women. Men have to take responsibility.


Snapshot of affordable housing around the country reveals a bleak picture
Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald

A national snapshot of rental affordability in Australia has found there are minuscule and in some cases, zero, levels of affordable housing for people on low incomes, with welfare advocates saying some people will be forced to go without food to afford their accommodation.

The report, prepared by Anglicare Australia, found single Australians on government payments are "seriously disadvantaged" in the housing market, with less than 1 per cent of properties examined deemed suitable.


Parents confused by NDIS
Caroline Winter, PM, ABC

Parents of disabled children say the National Disability Insurance Scheme isn't delivering as it promised.

The NDIS was launched nearly 10 months ago in five trial sites across Australia. In South Australia the focus is on children up to the age of 14. But some parents there say they're feeling ambushed and confused while trying to negotiate the bureaucracy.


Gambling on adequate support
Kelly Vincent, ABC

The disability support system remains under-resourced and inflexible, particularly in regional centres where people can be at the mercy of the 'postcode lottery'. Kelly Vincent says shifting to a system that delivers true choice and control will not happen overnight, and it's time for governments to practice what they preach.


Australian Human Rights Commission to provide guidance on use of mobility scooters
Australian Human Rights Commission

They’re efficient and for many people with disability, mobility scooters are vital in maintaining independence and community connections. But these affordable disability aides can also be problematic in some circumstances.

That’s why the Australian Human Rights Commission is developing an advisory note on how best mobility scooters can be used indoors, particularly because many are designed for both indoor and outdoor use and are therefore sometimes heavy, large and fast.


Ruling lets government pay some disabled workers $1 an hour
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)

The Australian government can continue to pay some disabled workers as little as one dollar an hour under a temporary exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act granted by the top human rights body late today.

More: Application for exemption from Disability Discrimination Act 1992 for Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT)


Why rising youth unemployment demands our urgent attention
Ken Henry, The Conversation

I believe there is a special case for taking an interest in youth unemployment. It is concerning that more than one-third of the unemployed people in Australia are aged 15 to 24.


No free rides as PM signals widespread welfare crackdowns
Simon Benson, The Daily Telegraph

School leavers will be denied easy access to the dole and would be forced to study or work under a Budget ­welfare crackdown flagged by Prime Minister Tony Abbott last night.


Under-pressure Tony Abbott drops parental leave cut-off to $100,000
Dennis Shanahan, The Australian ($)

Tony Abbott has dropped the controversial threshold for his paid parental leave scheme from $150,000 to $100,000 for the sake of “equity and simplicity’’, bringing his signature project in line with his new welfare limit.

... Ten days ago, Mr Abbott put to the Coalition’s expenditure review committee that a pragmatic and realistic decision had to be made in relation to the PPL since it was seen as a government benefit, although funded by a business levy. As such, it should be brought into line with the government’s decision to set a $100,000 income threshold for welfare and family payments.


The Coalition’s PPL scheme: budget drain or revenue raiser?
Luke Buckmaster, FlagPost

One of the most controversial features of the Coalition Government’s proposed Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme is its significantly greater cost compared with the current scheme. The more generous proposed scheme is expected to cost $5.7 billion per year when up and running in 2016-17, while the current scheme will cost $2 billion in that year. Media reports suggest that this has led some Coalition members of parliament to urge the Prime Minister to either abandon or ‘scale down’ his proposed scheme.

However, it is important to note that according to the Coalition’s 2013 election costings the scheme is expected to make money by its second year—that is, it will raise revenue of $1.7 billion in 2016-17.


Generosity of Abbott's paid parental leave scheme puts budget in jeopardy
Trisha Jha, The Guardian

Some of the proposals leaking out of the budget process indicate the gap between political rhetoric and policy remains large. For all the talk of a government of "no surprises" and the need to end the age of entitlement, the government appears to be considering a surprise increase in income tax while continuing to fight for its unpopular gold plated paid parental leave scheme while introducing a new income threshold of $100,000 for government payments.


Taxes Are No Substitute For Savings
Alan Moran, Australian Financial Review

The government is kite flying a one-off income tax surcharge for the budget, perhaps to be deceptively called a deficit levy, to side-step the "no new taxes" pledge.

Commonwealth expenditure has blown out as a result of long-term commitments made under Rudd and Gillard. As a share of GDP, it grew from 23 per cent in 2007/8 to 26 per cent this year with that level set to increase gradually over the next decade.

... The present dilemma is a budget deficit that goes on forever, created by a spending splurge. A one-off tax is no solution.


Deficit tax tears at Tony Abbott's credibility
Mark Kenny and Jonathan Swan

Senior Liberals have described plans for a possible deficit tax in the budget as "electoral suicide". Some talked of a party-room revolt and one warned the Prime Minister Tony Abbott would wear the broken promise as "a crown of thorns" if the government decided to go through with it.


The ageing of the Australian population: triumph or disaster
Swinburne University of Technology, media release

The ageing of the Australian population does not, and will not, impose unmanageable strains on society, according to a new study.

Written by Swinburne University of Technology Adjunct Associate Professor Katharine Betts, the report finds Australia is coping well with its ageing population and should be able to keep on doing so throughout the 21st century.


Age invaders
The Economist

The first obvious implication of a population that is getting a lot older without growing much is that, unless the retirement age changes, there will be fewer workers. That means less output, unless productivity rises to compensate. Under the UN’s standard assumption that a working life ends at 65, and with no increases in productivity, ageing populations could cut growth rates in parts of the rich world by between one-third and one-half over the coming years.


UK - ‘All too often dementia in older age leads to professionals disregarding human rights’
Blair McPherson, CommunityCare

When I was a specialist social worker working with older people who had dementia I was very concerned about the willingness of relatives, housing officers, ward staff, GPs and fellow social workers to ignore the wishes of people with dementia bases on the fact that they were confused and forgetful.


Independence Of Charities Under Threat
Greg Ogle, New Matilda

In early May, submissions to a Federal Senate Commission examining the repeal of a the national charity regulation body — the 18-month old Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) — will close. What follows will be a nervous wait for charitable organisations around the country, especially those with an environmental agenda. If the Coalition Government has its way and the ACNC is abolished, the regulation of charities will be handed back to the Australian Tax Office, brining some concerning memories back in focus.

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